Everything you need for integrating secure eSignature workflows

The signNow API makes it easy to add eSignatures into your app or website

Choose a better solution

Approve, deliver, track, and store documents using any device.

What is an electronic signature?

Previously a signature was considered a wet-ink mark of a person’s name on a physical document or agreement. But the growing influence of electronic signatures has broadened this concept. An electronic signature represents data associated with other data and is used to sign this data or digital document. Electronic signatures can include a typed name, an image of a wet-ink signature, a drawing using a stylus, mouse, or touchscreen, and even biometric data (e.g., fingerprints). Since the first regulations concerning eSigning appeared in 1999 and 2000 (the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act accordingly), more than 60 countries have enacted the local laws, with more countries to come.

How legal is an electronic signature?

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act, 2000) defines eSignatures as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” This US federal law also declared that a signature or an agreement couldn’t be considered invalid simply because of its electronic form. The US was the first to grant electronic signatures the exact legality as wet-ink signatures.

There are several requirements an eSignature must meet to be valid and enforceable. First, all parties of an agreement must show their intention to electronically sign an agreement by typing, drawing, or uploading their eSignatures. All parties of a contract must give their consent to do business electronically and have the option to choose pen-and-paper signing instead. The Electronic Signature Act requires that all parties should be able to receive copies of their eSigned records. And finally, the law requires that eSignature tools maintain eSignature records and keep a detailed audit trail for each document transaction. Meeting these criteria makes electronically signed documents legally enforceable and court-acceptable.

What documents cannot be approved with electronic signatures?

In the US, both the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) permit you to approve various documents with eSignature. You can eSign various educational, banking, tax and insurance forms, rental agreements, etc. However, there are some documents that eSignature laws require a pen and paper signature. These include papers for adoption, marriage, divorce, other family-related forms, court orders, notices, deeds, wills, and leases. You can still complete them electronically in a web-based document editor, but you’ll need to print them out and sign with a wet-ink signature.

What is the purpose of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act?

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) was passed in 1999 to resolve the problem of paper document retention and establish the usage of electronic signatures in business transactions. This act unified various electronic signature laws by state into a single standard. Before adopting this law, banking institutions had to keep hard copies of all their checks. The passing of the UETA law enabled banks to store those records electronically, which has significantly reduced document storage and data access security issues. Also, the UETA states that when forms are required to be in writing or require signing, electronic signatures are acceptable if both parties agree to do business electronically. This act relates to all commercial, business, and governmental transactions.

What is the FedRAMP certification?

FedRAMP stands for Federal Risk and Authorisation Management Program. It’s a US government program that regulates security assessment and authorization of cloud services used by US government agencies. The main goal is to provide a high level of data security processed and stored in the cloud. The state institutions can only use those cloud products that comply with the FedRAMP regulations, one of the most strict certifications for SAAS companies. Previously such services had to pass various security certifications for each governmental agency. The FedRAMP provides a nationwide standardized approach to data security. Thus, a cloud service should be authorized as FedRAMP compliant so that any federal institution can utilize it. Suppose a state agency wants to use a new cloud solution. In that case, it should first check its compliance with federal security standards in the FedRAMP Marketplace or apply for the service authorization there.

Are electronic signatures legal in Europe?

All countries part of the European Union recognize eSignature validity under the eIDAS law. This electronic signature act provides regulation on identification for electronic transactions within the EU Single Market. European countries also use their national eSignature rules, but all international electronic operations between the EU members are managed with eIDAS standards.
be ready to get more

Get legally-binding signatures now!